Jump to content

Faith, family helps cancer patient cope


Recommended Posts

http://www.thenoblesvilletimes.com/arti ... l/st70.txt

By Rebecca L. Sandlin|Staff writer

Posted: 02/20/06 - 11:09:16 am EST

SHERIDAN — Vernon Ridge did not end up with the kind of life everyone thought he would have. In his early 20s he was engaged to be married, an excellent student and had just scored 90 percent on a test that would have led to a career working on jet airplanes.

But then Ridge went 'coon hunting, and the day changed his life. He had climbed a tree to shake out a raccoon and the branch he was on snapped, crashing him to the ground. On the way down he hit his head on a fence post, causing brain damage and putting him into a coma for two weeks. The accident left him with a diminished mental capacity.

But one thing hasn't ever changed in Ridge: his faith in God. So when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer a few weeks ago, Ridge decided to throw himself a birthday party, even though his birthday is months away.

“I'll be 74 on May 8,” Ridge said. “I'm 73 now.”

His sister, Barb Holliday, said doctors have given her brother about two months to live.

“I've taken care of him 43 years; he's like my little boy — one of my kids instead of my brother,” Holliday said. “It's going to really hurt when he goes.”

But as a last wish, Ridge wanted to get all his friends and family together to help him celebrate. Holliday made all the arrangements.

Although he seemed tired and found it difficult to eat, Ridge clearly enjoyed the attention from the 50 or so people who came to the party Saturday at the Sheridan Community Center. Nearly everyone gave him a hug, shook his hand or even gave him a kiss.

Vernon Ridge, left, shares one of his birthday cards with comedian Shannon Conwell of Muncie. Photo by Rebecca L. Sandlin / Staff writer

Uniformed men from the National Guard, Sheridan Police and Indiana State Police also came by to pay their respects and wish him the best.

A birthday cake that said, “We love you Brub,” Ridge's nickname, crowned a table full of ham, macaroni and cheese and other homemade favorites.

“I think it's a good idea,” said Ridge's longtime friend Carol Strawn of Noblesville. “I think it's nice to have a birthday for Brub. It's what he wants.”

Ridge laughed at the card his sister Betty Marlow gave him that featured wiggling pictures of dancing girls attached by springs.

“He likes that stuff,” Marlow said.

Entertainment was provided by a group consisting of singers Linda Lee of Arcadia, Billy G. Miller and comedian Shannon “The Outlaw” Conwell of Muncie. They waived their booking fee as a birthday present for Ridge, who is one of their biggest fans.

Conwell, who owns a wrecker service, even took time out from his job to come to Sheridan to entertain.

“We just love helping people out,” he said. “It's not about the money. Sometimes we do it out of our hearts … they're such a fan of us that I'd do anything in the world to help them out.”

The party was a great success, but Ridge's sister is apprehensive about the immediate future.

“I've saved him from being in nursing homes,” Holliday said. “Now I can't save him anymore. It's going to take God to do it.”

Despite a CT scan and a battery of tests that say otherwise, Ridge insists he's been healed.

“Jesus is healing my lung cancer,” he said. “I'm better now.”

The last trip Ridge took to the doctor showed surprisingly clear lungs. But Ridge wasn't surprised.

“He's got a lot of faith,” Holliday said.

“As long as he's got a good attitude, that's what matters,” Marlow added.

Holliday said he will go back for another test in a couple of weeks.

“Wouldn't it be something if it was gone?” she asked. “If it is I'll call you.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.